Mukesh Ambani is the wealthiest businessman in India, but Ratan Tata is the most loved Indian businessman.
Known for his high ethical standard and philanthropic activities as much as his business acumen, Rata Tata served as the chairman of the Tata Group from 1990 to 2012, followed by another brief stint as interim chairman from October 2016 to February 2017. At the time of writing, he continues to lead Tata’s charitable trust.
For the uninitiated, here’s a brief overview of what Ratan Tata managed to achieve during his career. During the 21 years that Ratan Tata lead the group, revenue grew over 40 times and profit grew over 50 times. He also oversaw Tata’s growth from largely India-focussed business to a global entity, leading to over 65% revenue coming from operations and sales in over 100 countries. He was also awarded two of the highest civilian awards in India, Padma Bhushan(2000) & Padma Vibhushan(2008).
Now that we’ve learned a little about the achievements of Ratan Tata, the legend, let’s go through some of his wise words as well. To make things easier for you, we categorized his quotes into the following types: life, business, success, leadership, innovation, startups, ethics, decision making, India, marriage, politics, flying & government.
Ratan Tata Quotes on Life
- “Take the stones people throw at you, and use them to build a monument”
- Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive.”
- “None can destroy iron, but its own rust can! Likewise none can destroy a person, but its own mindset can!”
- “How strange it is: We wish to wear high brands but we feel most comfortable in pajamas. We wish to sit in Taj & Marriot with elite people, but we enjoy roadside tea with friends and with people we love. We wish to own big cars, yet we talk our hearts out only while walking down a long road. We have 64GB iPods filled with songs but sometimes a song on the radio brings a smile that can,t be compared.”
- Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationship, and mental peace are all in good order. There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup.
- “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.”
- All of us do not have equal talent. Yet all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.
- “People still believe what they read is necessarily the truth.”
- “Deal with crisis in such a way that you can hold your head high and sleep well at night.”
- “Don’t be serious, enjoy life as it comes.”
- “I would say that one of the things I wish I could do differently would be to be more outgoing.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on Business
- “Business need to go beyond the interest of their companies to the communities they serve.”
- “A founder who is in for the short run, or has no passion for the sector he is in, doesn’t give me a great deal of comfort.”
- “At Tatas, we believe that if we are not among the top three in an industry, we should look seriously at what it would take to become one of the top three players.. or think about exiting the industry”
- “If a founder has passion and innovation, he needs to be supported. I am more intuitive than a numbers person, and I recognize that not all investments are going to be positive. Some may fail, and some may have problems for other reasons. That is life.”
- “One hundred years from now, I expect the Tatas to be much bigger than it is now. More importantly, I hope the Group comes to be regarded as being the best in India.. best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver, and best in our value systems and ethics. Having said that, I hope that a hundred years from now we will spread our wings far beyond India.”
- “I followed someone who had very large shoes. He had very large shoes. Mr. J. R. D. Tata. He was a legend in the Indian business community. He had been at the helm of the Tata organization for 50 years. You were almost starting to think he was going to be there forever.”
- “The strong live and the weak die. There is some bloodshed, and out of it emerges a much leaner industry, which tends to survive.”
- “What I would like to do is to leave behind a sustainable entity of a set of companies that operate in an exemplary manner in terms of ethics, values and continue what our ancestors left behind.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on Success
- “Power and wealth are not two of my main stakes.”
- “There are many things that, if I have to relive, maybe I will do it another way. But I would not like to look back and think what I have not been able to.”
- “I admire people who are very successful. But if that success has been achieved through too much ruthlessness, then I may admire that person, but I can’t respect him.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Leadership
- “I have been constantly telling people to encourage people, to question the unquestioned and not to be ashamed to bring up new ideas, new processes to get things done.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Innovation
- “If there are challenges thrown across, then some interesting, innovative solutions are found. Without challenges, the tendency is to go on the same way.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on Startups
- New startups embody the creativity, the innovation of young people, and for me, it was and is a very worthwhile experience to interact with them.
- “Young entrepreneurs will make a difference in the Indian ecosystem.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on Ethics
- “Apart from values and ethics which I have tried to live by, the legacy I would like to leave behind is a very simple one – that I have always stood up for what I consider to be the right thing, and I have tried to be as fair and equitable as I could be.”
- “The early Rockefellers made their wealth from being in certain businesses and remained personally very wealthy. Tata’s were different in the sense the future generations were not so wealthy. They were involved in the business but most of the family wealth was put into trust and most of the family did not in fact did not enjoy enormous wealth.”
- “When you see in places like Africa and parts of Asia abject poverty, hungry children and malnutrition around you, and you look at yourself as being people who have well being and comforts, I think it takes a very insensitive, tough person not to feel they need to do something.”
- “Some foreign investors accuse us of being unfair to shareholders by using our resources for community development. Yes, this is money that could have made for dividend payouts, but it also is money that’s uplifting and improving the quality of life of people in the rural areas where we operate and work. We owe them that.”
- “I may have hurt some people along the way, but I would like to be seen as somebody who has done his best to do the right thing for any situation and not compromised.”
- “If it stands the test of public scrutiny, do it… If it doesn’t stand the test of public scrutiny then don’t do it.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Decision Making
- “I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on India
- “I consider myself fortunate to be an Indian & to try and contribute to India’s growth & prosperity.”
- “I’ve often felt that the Indian Tiger has not been unleashed.”
- “I have always been very confident and very upbeat about the future potential of India. I think it is a great country with great potential.”
- “One of the weaknesses of Indian industry is that in many areas.. like consumer goods.. it is very fragmented. Individually, the companies might not be able to survive. What is needed is a consortium of like companies in one industry, presenting a strong front to the multinationals. The Swiss watch industry did this.”
- “I am proud of my country. But we need to unite to make a unified India, free of communalism and casteism. We need to build India into a land of equal opportunity for all. We can be a truly great nation if we set our sights high and deliver to the people the fruits of continued growth, prosperity and equal opportunity.”
- “If we dispense with some of our self-made boundaries, India can really take its place in the world as an economic power. It hasn’t happened because we, sadly, don’t look at ourselves as Indians but as Punjabis or Parsis, unlike the Americans. Don’t make such boundaries.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Marriage
- “I came seriously close to getting married four times, and each time I backed off in fear or for one reason or another. Each occasion was different, but in hindsight when I look at the people involved, it wasn’t a bad thing what I did. I think it may have been more complex had the marriage taken place.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Politics
- “I will certainly not join politics. I would like to be remembered as a clean businessman who has not partaken in any twists and turns beneath the surface, and one who has been reasonably successful.”
Ratan Tata Quotes on Flying
- “Flying, I continue to be involved with it. I love flying, and I hope to keep doing it so long as I can pass my medicals and stay proficient.”
- “The day I am not able to fly will be a sad day for me.”
Ratan Tata Quote on Government
- The government should do its job. The government’s job is, in fact, to run the country, to manage the country, to govern the country. And governance is an important thing, not application where it suits one so, to micro control where it suits them on the other hand.
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